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Old 06-14-2011, 11:00 PM   #76
Cydsmom
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Breakfast at Kona Cafe

I just had to post to you. The picture you posted of the macadamia nut and pineapple pancakes looked so good and the description of the restaurant sounded so good, I had to make a adr at kona. This is our first trip in many years and our 6 year old dd first visit ever. I hope we can make kona a tradition too. Thanks for all your info on the places to dine. We also have adrs for ltt and akershus. September can't come soon enough!
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:26 AM   #77
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Great reviews! I definitely need to try one of those carrot cake cookies!
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:27 PM   #78
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Oh myy goodness. *drool*

All of those desserts look FANTASTIC.

I am in with the carrot cake cookie.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:41 PM   #79
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I love your reviews. You are making me rethink our dining plans. We have been very traditional in eating a small breakfast in our room and then using our dining plans CS for lunch and TS for dinner. I think we need to break out and try out some of the TS for breakfast or lunch! They look great!!!!
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Old 06-24-2011, 10:36 PM   #80
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Sorry for the unintended break in the review... between travel for work and my PC crashing - I was not able to update. BUT... here we go again.

Back to it.....
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:05 PM   #81
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Coral Reef Dinner





We had spent the day at Hollywood Studios and had ran back to our room to freshen up before catching the monorail to Epcot for our 7:40 dinner ADR. We arrive a few minutes early for our reservation and were handed a pager and asked to wait. There was quite a crowd of people awaiting tables but they were accommodating walk-ups.

After about a 10 minute wait we were seated in the top tier of the restaurant.


This particular 4-top table had a great view of the aquarium. At first I thought that my birthday karma was off but I actually ended up preferring this location to the next-to-the-aquarium table we had last time which was a crowded 2-top and had people intruding into our space when they came over to take photos and hang out.



Steven from NY was our waiter and did an excellent job! He immediately wished me a Happy Birthday and provided an explanation of some of the featured dishes. A basket of rolls and butter arrived shortly after along with our beverages.

I’m not a huge fan of the menu for this restaurant and actually would have cancelled this reservation but Em liked this place so I conceded that it wasn’t all about me – this time!

I ordered appetizers for both my starter (barley mushroom soup, hold the duck confit please!) and my main (Caesar salad.) Em ordered the same thing as last time – mahi mahi.

I ate most of a roll but I wasn’t a fan of the texture or flavor. I can’t exactly describe it but it was rather dry and crumbly. If the food hadn’t arrived as soon as it did, I’m sure I would have eaten the entire thing so it couldn't have been entirely disgusting!

Rolls:


The barley mushroom soup was very hot and very salty. I like salt… in moderation. However, this was way too salty and I wondered what they were trying to hide with the huge amount of salt that was used. I definitely wouldn’t order this again.

Mushroom Barley soup:


The Caesar salad on the other hand was wonderful. It arrived with a large fried parmesan cheese garnish. The dressing was just the right balance of garlic and anchovy for my taste. Also, the croutons were well seasoned and crunchy. This was a great light meal.

Caesar Salad:


Em devoured her mahi mahi so quickly that I didn’t have a chance to have a bite. She even ate all of the shrimp unlike last time when she gave them to me.

Mahi Mahi:


We had a nice chat with the waiter – he was very sociable. Dessert menus were offered and although I wasn’t going to order dessert Steven told me to pick something out for my birthday – his treat. He recommended the chocolate wave. Not being a huge fan of chocolate I selected something more creamy and brulee. Last year I had the crème brulee which was really good. This year they had made some changes to the desserts and the crème brulee was now a passion fruit version of the dish.

My passion fruit crème brulee arrived with a candle and chocolate dipped biscotti – but no song. The table across from us wished me a Happy Birthday and said that they would sing to me – which they did.



My first bite of this dessert caused me to pucker and shiver. It was quite tart – not bad, just very tart. Subsequent bites didn’t appear to produce the same sour face so by the last bite, I really liked the kick! Em ordered the chocolate wave and loved it.

After a short conversation with the folks at the table across from us, I offered to take their family photo and they repaid in kind. It is always nice to cross paths with friendly people who offer simple things like a smile and a friendly greeting.

The bill came to $51.76 with the 20% TIW discount and the gratuity.





Next Up: 'Ohana breakfast
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:21 PM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cydsmom View Post
I just had to post to you. The picture you posted of the macadamia nut and pineapple pancakes looked so good and the description of the restaurant sounded so good, I had to make a adr at kona. This is our first trip in many years and our 6 year old dd first visit ever. I hope we can make kona a tradition too. Thanks for all your info on the places to dine. We also have adrs for ltt and akershus. September can't come soon enough!
Thanks for reading! Those pancakes WERE so good. How exciting for you that you have something to look forward to in September! LTT is now a tradition for us and althugh I second guessed Akershus before we went - I ended up really liking it! At least the food and service were very good.

Enjoy your trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hogwartsdropout View Post
Great reviews! I definitely need to try one of those carrot cake cookies!
Thanks! Honestly, I regret not smuggling a few extra of those cookies home. Thanks to the reviews here I knew about them and could keep my eyes peeled for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disneyfreak616 View Post
Oh myy goodness. *drool*

All of those desserts look FANTASTIC.

I am in with the carrot cake cookie.
Yes... very drool worthy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by disfanforlife View Post
I love your reviews. You are making me rethink our dining plans. We have been very traditional in eating a small breakfast in our room and then using our dining plans CS for lunch and TS for dinner. I think we need to break out and try out some of the TS for breakfast or lunch! They look great!!!!
Thanks! I don't regret any of the places we ate but I do wonder what it would be like to eat a small sensible breakfast, moderate lunch, and regular dinner. I walked around too uncomfortable and full too often when we have 3 ADRs a day.....but I just skipped some entrees and ate appetizers so that helped. I am a breakfast lover when we travel - since I eat oatmeal or a protein bar for breakfast each morning at home - very boring!!!!

More good stuff to come....
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:35 AM   #83
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We had an 8:30 am ADR at 'Ohana so we took the monorail the short distance from the Contemporay to the Poly. This place is very popular so the lobby area is filled with large groups of people. Since the waiting area is expansive with groupings of rattan chairs and little tables, there was plenty of seating. Everyone is greeted Hawaiian fashion – Aloha - and given a polyester lei. We had our photo taken at the ‘Ohana photo prop and then proceeded to wait about 15 minutes before our buzzer went off.

We were led to our table by Giuseppe who filled us in on the happenings at this place, reminded us that we were “cousins”, and grabbed a basket of bread before showing us to our table. (Even though we had been here previously I don’t recall such a nice spiel about the restaurant. Now that it has been several weeks since we dined there I can’t recall all that he shared but it was noteworthy.)

We were seated at a table for two overlooking the Poly grounds facing the beach next to the windows. So far so good – nice greeting, nice seat in the restaurant, and we had these really cool leis – what could go wrong?

It took Susan, our server, a little time to get to us for our drink orders, which included “Stitch juice.”



Typically, you arrive at your table, your server greets you and provides your drinks and the platter of fresh fruit followed not too long after by a skillet of hot breakfast items all while the characters circulate the room and make you happy to have chosen this place. Here was our experience: arrive at the table, eat an entire basket of bread before the server arrives to even take our drink orders, drinks arrive, another long wait until the fruit arrives, wait another 20 minutes and no food, make eye contact with Susan across the room and shrug in a “what’s up” fashion, she ignores me, comes around 5 minutes later and plops a platter of food on our table and says that she thought her “backup” had taken care of us. Really?? This is Disney and you need to give me a “story” about why you are not doing your job??

I will honestly give my opinion of the food without the service prejudice being interjected.

Starting with the bread since I ate all of it! I only had a bite last trip so I really had no opinion but now I wonder why didn’t I indulge? The bread was actually very good. I can’t say if I prefer the pineapple to the cinnamon bread since they were both moist and delicious. Now if you combined them into a pineapple cinnamon bread – that would be awesome!



The fruit was fresh and delicious. The platter arrives with melon slices, pineapple, and red seedless grapes. It really is a refreshing start to a meal – or it could have been our meal at the rate the service was going. After the loooong wait for our hot food (and seeing all the other tables that were seated around the time that we were being served as expected) I started to pay attention to my watch and time how long this was actually taking. I was so annoyed at having to wait 25 minutes between courses that it didn’t make it all that enjoyable even when the characters came around to greet us.



About those characters….Lilo, Stitch, Aloha Mickey, and Pluto – they were all fine and interacted briefly with us since we only wanted a photo with each but they come out all within about 10 minutes. This isn’t a complaint just an observation so if the meal is timed so that you are on your fruit course, you don’t have to wait and have your hot food get cool. So don’t pick up that biscuit and dig in if you see the characters coming!

During the ‘Ohana character parade (I think we were there for 3 or 4 rounds of this event) one of the Cast Members kept trying to get Em to participate by handing her a maraca. Unfortunately, she didn’t let the inner child in her come out! It really is adorable to see all of the little kids participate along with some of the adults.

The hot skillet of food contains; scrambled eggs, potato wedges (the same for all of WDW?), bacon, sausage, and 2 biscuits. This food was just ok. Nothing special, nothing particularly good at all. The eggs were probably my favorite part of the meal since they do prepare those to my liking. The potatoes were blech – not hot and not flavorful. The bacon was limp and room temperature, I don’t eat sausage so no opinion on that, and the biscuits were – well, I didn’t eat those either. However, there was some redeeming quality to this joint – they serve Mickey waffles!!! Now we are back in the game with these little beauties. Susan served the Mickey waffles which arrive with a mini pitcher of syrup and a ball of whipped butter. I actually asked for a second helping of waffles since I figured that I could squeeze a couple more into my belly.








The photo person had circulated with the pictures from the photo op in the lobby. Being that they were decent photos of us, I paid the $31.90 to have the joy of owning an overpriced picture package. Actually, the term “package” is misleading since it is only 1 5”x7” photo of us and 1 5”x7” photo of the characters in a folio.

Susan arrived with our bill and a nice accompaniment – a birthday cupcake with a little paper umbrella. She did light the sucker up but she didn’t sing me a song! I took a few polite bites of the cupcake but it wasn’t that great since it was – chocolate – ugh!



I gave Susan our TIW card and she said that she would need to get a Manager to enter it for us – I think that was code for “I’m going to disappear again.” However, no worries, she arrived back within a few minutes and we were done.

The bill was $43.33 with the TIW discount and the automatic 18% gratuity. We saved $8.40 with the TIW card for this meal.

I decided to bring to the attention of the management team that our dining experience had probably been the exception and not the norm for this place. When we exited and reached the check-in podium I asked to whom I could speak regarding a service issue. They called for a manager while I stepped off to the side.

Mr. Manager Ben arrives, a young guy who looked to be in his early 20’s – seriously? I shake his hand and introduce myself (hey, I was going to be professional and direct – no reason to let my annoyance speak louder than my fight for justice!) I told “Ben” that I wanted to bring a service issue to his attention since one of his Cast Members may need a little coaching. I stuck to the facts and shared that we had dined there for breakfast in the past so we were familiar with the experience; however, the wait between courses and to even be greeted and get drinks this time was unacceptable for a guest eating in a family style restaurant where there were no made-to-order dishes. I asked him who Susan’s “back-up” was that resulted in our longer than anticipated wait. He said there is no back up. (I knew it! Liar liar Susan! I didn’t say that but I wanted to.) I told him that it was unfortunate that I share my dining reviews and that I had to be completely honest in my evaluation of the service. He tried to deflect briefly by asking where we were from. Uh… Ben, let’s stick to the issue here – ok? Then I asked for what I thought was more than fair – refund the $31.90 that I paid for the photo package. Without hesitation, he immediately did this and asked if there was anything else he could do. No. I was fine with his response.

So would I go back to ‘Ohana? I don’t know. And my answer has nothing to do with the service since I don’t think that would be an issue should we return. I’m not sure if it is worth the price for what I want out of a dining experience. I was finding that doing so many character buffets was just getting annoying since; 1) I don’t have little ones to really enjoy the magical experience of the characters 2) I normally only eat a packet of low-sugar oatmeal and a piece of fruit in the morning, I don’t eat a large breakfast so these meals were killing me! 3) I prefer to be served my food rather than have to go through a line and have people reach over me when I am dishing something on my plate! 4) At $22 per person, I can think of better ways to spend my sweet moola! (Especially when I figure that for $22 I can buy 2 months worth of oatmeal!)

Next Up: Contempo Cafe - and it wasn't half bad!

Last edited by emmysmommy; 07-08-2011 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:57 AM   #84
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Contempo Cafe - lunch

I know, two reviews in one night.. what am I thinking? Just feeling like I need to make up for being so slow and lazy with these dining reviews!!



We decided to take a break from the parks mid-day and due to the fact that we didn't feel like hopping on the monorail and going to Epcot for our Tutto ADR - we cancelled it. We had eaten at the Contempo Cafe last time and it was pretty decent so this was the easiest choice if we wanted to go back to our room and chill and eat at the same time.

We ordered via the kiosks – Em selected an adult flatbread and I got a kid’s pepperoni pizza. The kid meal comes with a choice of two sides the choices being grapes, carrots, applesauce, fries or a chocolate chip cookie. I chose the fries and the grapes – at least I chose 1 healthy option!





We decided to make the meals “to-go” which they package up for you in plastic containers. When I took my receipt to the cashier to pay, he noticed it was my birthday and gave me a free soft drink. Very nice! I was starting to wonder if I should wear a birthday button on every trip. Actually, it could be a curse since I should have said no to some of the freebies in the interest of my expanding waistline.

The nice CM who gave me the free soda:


The aforementioned free soda:



We noticed while we were awaiting our order that the re-fillable drink mugs had been updated. They now have pink, yellow, and blue pastel colors as the theme. It looks like they have a clip on them now as well… I didn’t look closely and I don’t even think I noticed it at the time but in looking at my photos – there it is. The cost is $13.99 + tax. I debated briefly getting one but the reality was that I was probably not going to come all the way back to the café for a soft drink refill. I would have to re-fill the mug at least 5 times to make it more cost effective compared to just buying bottled soda at the on-site mini-market. Besides, we had a fridge that I had stocked with some Diet Coke from the Fantasia market so I passed. (And yes, we saw people using the old mugs as well! I know, there is an entire discussion about that topic!)





We took the food with us back to the room. The kid’s pepperoni pizza was nothing special. For the price ($4.99) it was actually a bargain! The fries were ok, the ketchup packets helped make them good. I saved the grapes for later. Em really liked her cheese pizza (flatbread crust) and ate most of it.



Adult flatbread:


Kid's pizza:


I need to expand my horizons with this place since the photos of the food really look good and I’m sure they have some home-run dishes here but even though my food wasn’t “Oh-my-gosh this is so good!,” I would still come back. It looks like some creativity has gone into their menu and I’m sure there are some very good surprises being served up from their little kitchen.

Next Up: La Hacienda de San Angel
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Old 07-08-2011, 01:23 AM   #85
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Just found your reviews and I love them all! Looking forward to reading more!
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Old 07-08-2011, 01:24 AM   #86
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La Hacienda de San Angel - dinner

Since I am motivated to get this done... why not post another review??

This restaurant was much anticipated due to the reviews that I had read here on the Disboards - thanks guys!! I couldn't decide between La Hacienda and San Angel Inn and I was going to book an ADR for both - but in the end, we ate at only this restaurant.







We had a 7:45 ADR (they only serve dinner) but had a hard time waiting that long to eat since we were walking around the World Showcase hungry and with little time to really do anything before our ADR. We tried to fill the gap by shopping in the Mexico pavillion but by the time we had finished shopping it was still a little early for dinner but we decided to go ahead and check-in about 15 minutes early. They were not busy and in fact, they were taking walk-ups. We received a friendly greeting and were shown to our table which was a booth against the wall that overlooked the restaurant and the windows showcasing the lagoon.






Esmeralda was our server and she was fantastic! Besides being friendly and attentive, she didn’t make us wait 30 minutes between courses (reference my ‘Ohana breakfast review.)

The basket of chips and salsa arrived soon after we were seated. I really liked the chips and the two salsas – one green and mildly sweet, the other red, smoky and spicier. Although I prefer spicier salsa, I was drawn to the green salsa.



I ordered the Botana as an appetizer to split with Em; chicken tostada, cheese empanada, and chorizo sope. I wish I had ordered this for myself because it was so delicious and I was really happy with this choice.



For our main, I ordered the shrimp tacos and Em ordered the Pollo al Pastor. Let me start with what Em thought of her dish – it was very good and I didn’t hear a peep from her until she had finished it. That good!



The shrimp tacos on the other hand….. I really should have known better since I don’t prefer breaded shrimp. However, that wasn’t the issue with the dish. The shrimp was not warm and just didn’t taste fresh, the breading was soggy and not flavorful, and the chipotle-lime aioli tasted way too much like mayo and with not enough spice. We were also served a bowl of rice and a bowl of beans – they were fine – not outstanding but great compared to my shrimp tacos.





Overall, I was very disappointed in my selection and ended up eating the cabbage and most of the tortilla since the shrimp and the sauce were not good. I went back to the chips and salsa to complete my meal.

Esmeralda surprised me with a dish of dulce de leche ice-cream with a churro sticking out and topped with a candle. A group of the wait staff arrived with the dessert singing something in Spanish which I presumed was “happy birthday to you.” I’m not a big fan of ice-cream so Em ended up eating it.



The bill with my TIW card totaled $61.14 with the 18% gratuity. We saved $11.85 with the TIW card for this meal.



It was about 15 minutes prior to the Illuminations show was scheduled to begin and we could have stayed at our table to watch since the wait team had told us that we were welcome to stay at our table for the show but we wanted to go outside for a better view. It was nice of them to offer.

Next Up: My Birthday starts off with breakfast at Crystal Palace.
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:07 AM   #87
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Crystal Palace - breakfast

Since this day was my actual birthday I decided to book a breakfast ADR that was new and exciting! I had read a lot of favorable reviews for Crystal Palace and thought it sounded good. When I saw photos and read about the puffed french toast - I HAD to try this place!!

Since our ADR was 8:20am it was before rope drop. You know what that means - we got to walk down Main Street without the gazillion other people!



When we entered the park Pluto was already out posing for photos near the flag pole. We stopped for a few photos on Main Street with a great photographer that we saw a few times – Joy. We also saw the Mayor and the Mayor declared – “hi there red!” He kissed my hand! What a flirt.... we'll considering he smothered me in smooches on the way out of the park I think he's a bit overboard. I'll post more photos at the end.





There was already a long line for check-in for CP but we quickly made it to the front of the line and received a pager. We waited about 15 minutes to be seated but that was actually the time for our ADR.



Again, I had read many positive reviews for the breakfast buffet at this place. I have to say that they were all true because we had a great experience from the food to the characters to the service.

When we were shown to our table for two, it was decorated for my birthday with a curly cue streamer.



Our server, Teresa, gave us a friendly greeting and told us that we may want to wait just a little while to get our food since the first of the characters were nearby. She brought some juice while we awaited Eeyore to give us some love. Shortly after him, Piglet arrived at our table to pose for photos. The family at the table next to us offered to take our photo together with Piglet which was very nice and thoughtful. We have few photos with the characters together since someone has to take the photos.





There was a break in the characters so we took the opportunity to head to the buffet. They have a great selection of cold and hot items. Here’s a listing of the dishes that I can see from my photos – I didn’t have too much variety (no surprise there) so I need some help from my photo album.

Hot items:
Cheesy potato casserole
Red potatoes
Biscuits and gravy
Corned beef hash
Mickey waffles in both regular and chocolate – hooray!
Pancakes
Bacon
Sausage
Scrambled eggs
Vegetable frittata
Oatmeal
Quinoa
Pooh’s peach casserole

Cold items:
Fresh fruit including – berries, grapes, melon, whole apples
Hard boiled eggs
Smoked salmon with tomato, onion,
Yogurt
Cheese cubes

Breads & Pastries:
Croissants
Chocolate croissants
Cinnamon rolls
Raspberry crumb cake
Donut holes
Whole wheat & white bread and several jellies and preserves
Bagels with cream cheese

Children’s Corner:
Breakfast pizza
Puffed French toast



















With all of these delicious choices I stuck with what I like best: eggs and cheesy potatoes along with some sweets. I had the veggie frittata (excellent!), potato casserole (I had seconds this was so good), fresh berries (very good), raspberry crumb cake (moist and delicious), a donut hole (good) and something new that I had read about. Puffed French toast. They should have this stuff on a pedestal with lights shining on it to give it the attention it deserves. These little fried pieces of goodness were amazing. I had a second piece of this as well.









Don’t think that I ignored the Mickey waffles – yes, I had two of those as well. Regular, not chocolate thank you very much! As always, they were very good.

The other characters – Tigger and Pooh also came around and greeted us. The Cast Member that keeps them circulating asked if all of the characters had visited our table which they had.

When it looked like we were not going to be able to waddle over to the buffet any longer, Teresa arrived with the bill and a birthday card signed by all the characters with a birthday cupcake already in a to-go cup.

The meal was $47.46 with the TIW card and the 18% gratuity. We saved $9.20 with the TIW card. This breakfast has now gone to the top of my list for re-visiting next time.

Bonus photos....

Friendly Mayor dude: Note: My ick face!



And because one smooch wasn't enough: (Note: I was trying to keep him from kissing me again but it looks like I'm holding his face close for a kiss - at least according to my hubby! Not true at all!



Up Next: 50's Prime Time Cafe and probably the best waiter in all of WDW!
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:17 AM   #88
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The nice CM who gave me the free soda:
I'd wondered what Gilbert Gottfried was doing these days.
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:30 PM   #89
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Oh my goodness...this makes me want to switch our Crystal Palace ressie from lunch to breakfast...

We did lunch last year and really liked it...but those breakfast foods look amazing!
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:27 PM   #90
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Loving all your reviews, your pictures and reviews are fantastic.
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